Ever wondered how the scenes of a sci-fi movie are created? Any first time movie goer would be fascinated by the realistic Holograms, Aliens, Blackholes, Ghosts etc. How are these captured on screen? With Augmented Reality, Objects that may or may not exist in the physical world can be shown in vivd detail. To “Augment” means to “add”. So, the idea of A.R is to add new things to the world around you. A.R isn’t only used in movies. In fact, the minds that suggested the future tech in those movies are actually trying to make it a reality.
Augmented Reality is one of the things when you get started with, you just get hooked! If you show someone a picture of you holing, say, a car (in Augmented reality, of course), the first thing that most would say would be like : “ Thats a terribly edited picture”. And just when you were expecting a complement as a self proclaimed semi-master of A.R, you would just roll your eyes and make the “oh lord..” face, sighing instead.
Okay! So its not really useful using A.R in pictures. Then where can we use Augmented Reality? The simple answer is : Anywhere else! Games use Augmented Reality to make virtual components come to life, thus increasing interaction and excitement. In retail, you can digitize clothing/jewelry on your person to see how it looks, without actually trying it on. Its even used in Pharmaceutical Marketing to train specialists and to show patients vividly how various substances affect their body.
WHY A.R. IN EDUCATION ?
Now that we know what A.R can do, its no surprise that it can also be used in education as well. It is a known fact that:
Learning is most effective in the presence of a visual aid.
That is, what you see has a greater impact than what you hear. In the classroom, all kinds of concepts are taught. Lets assume that a lecture on, say, “the working of a fan” is going on. In the Face-to-Face [F2F] classroom, the teacher wouldn’t waste time drawing a fan on the board. Rather, he would use a fan in the classroom as a reference for the lecture. (After all, there is bound to be a fan in a classroom.) Since the students have a working model right in front of them, they can easily understand how it works from the teacher’s explanation.
But what if the lecture is one something that isn’t in the classroom at the time?? Say, “The Eiffel Tower”. You have two options here. You can either plan a class field trip to France, which is obviously not feasible (but would be amazing!!), or have the teacher explain the Eiffel tower with a 3D model, from right inside the classroom. The latter can be accomplished easily with AR. All teachers need to do is follow the 5 steps listed below to get the Eiffel Tower , or any other monument/object in the classroom.
WHERE DO I START ?
Install an augmented reality app. “Augment” is a notable app for android and iOS.
If you’ve installed “Augment” on your phone/tablet/iPad , create an account on augmentedev.com . This will be the platform for creating and managing your A.R projects. You can take free trial for 30 days.
Now, You need to create “models” and “trackers”.
* Model is the 3D object that you want to view.
* Tracker is the physical platform on which your object will be seen.
You can create a custom tracker on a small card or a large sheet of paper, depending on whether you want to hold the model in your hand or mount it on the floor. Upload the tracker image to your “Augment” account.
NOTE : A good tracker is a messy one! I tried index cards and making my own A4 size trackers in MS Paint, but the best tracker is a news paper for 3D models on the floor.
WHY ISN’T AUGMENTED REALITY POPULAR IN THE CLASSROOM?
Whats stopping us from using this technology in education today? Everyone has a smartphone nowadays, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get the A.R ball rolling in education globally. Could it be lack of awareness that there is such a tool that can potentially revolutionize the idea of technology in education, leading to a completely different learning model? Using A.R in education means more classroom time, and more student- teacher interaction. It sounds closer to F2F learning than the Flipped Classroom.
COST OF USE
The one thing that most institutions have in mind when considering anything “new” is : How much is this going to cost me? Well, to make Augmented Reality a “reality”, an institution must be willing to purchase abundant resources, like iPads, for students to use in the classroom. When they hear the word “iPad”, i think you can guess their reaction! Most institutions will not be willing to spend that much just to make a lecture seem more interactive.
Of course, they aren’t completely considering the benefits of introduction of this teaching model. Students will actually be able to learn MUCH more that they ever could through textbooks and charts. This is something I could only dream of when i was in school! After all, how many kids you know would rather read books than— well, anything else!
COMPLEX LECTURE PLANS
Even if the institution considers using A.R in the classroom, it means absolutely nothing if teachers can’t make use of it.
Teachers need to know how to make use of AR as a learning Tool!
It seems like a lot of work to first understand the concept and then think of innovative ways to bring textbook knowledge to life, let alone make it interactive and interesting for the entire class! Teachers will have to reconsider how they normally deliver their lectures. How many teachers are actually willing to do this? Even if they do have passion for teaching, you can’t blame them if they refuse to change their methods.
WHERE ELSE IS AUGMENTED REALITY USED?
IKEA, one of the world largest ready-to-use furniture selling groups in the world, has chosen to use Augmented Reality in their catalogs. Each page of the catalog gives information about the furniture in addition to a custom tracker. When scanned, a 3D animated model of the product appears on the catalog, showing us the various features to give customers a good Idea lot how the product looks and functions.
How would you feel if you saw a dinosaur in your living room, charging straight at you! When we talk about augmented reality in gaming, we are adding the virtual object, the dinosaur, to the real world (your living room). The experience here is quite different from your typical “virtual reality” gaming where everything – the surroundings and characters, are digitized.
Augmented Reality can be used in marketing as well. The idea behind every good marketing strategy revolves around appealing to the customer. The best way to get their attention is through visuals. Consider a clothing store, for example. A teenager walks by and sees long lines of clothing in every aisle. She would probably be thinking : “ I have to try on all these clothes if I have to decide what I’m gonna buy. Is it really worth the effort?”. Ironically, because of so many options, she might not even buy anything at all! But what if there was a faster way to decide? Using A.R, the store could create digitized versions of clothing on the customer’s person without her even trying the outfit on! This saves a lot of time for shopping and makes it easy for customers to decide what they want.
OTHER A.R TECHNOLOGY
Google Glass is a wearable computing platform that can also be used to deliver Augmented Reality experiences. With the right apps, like layAR , You can get information about the things around you, and even a 360 degree panoramic experiences of places thousands of miles away! Although Glass has pulled out of the market, it’ll come back with more features than before.
Augmented Reality has quite the future in various fields, even in education. However, it is up to the institution to objectively see the benefits that A.R has to offer. Teachers should try to change their methods, if possible, to welcome this new era of technology in education with open arms.